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Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Heart disease is a group of diseases of the heart and the blood vessel system in the heart. Coronary artery disease, the most common type, affects the blood vessels of the heart. It can cause angina (an-JEYE-nuh) or a heart attack. Angina is a pain in the chest that happens when the heart does not get enough blood. It may feel like a pressing or squeezing pain, often in the chest, but sometimes in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Having angina means you're more likely to have a heart attack. A heart attack happens when a clot mostly or completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscle.
Signs of a heart attack:
Women can also have less common symptoms, including:
If you think you are having a heart attack, you must act quickly to prevent disability or death. Wait no more than a few minutes — five at most — before calling 911.
Overall, Asian-American women have much lower rates of heart disease than other women. Yet, heart disease is still the second leading cause of death for this group. And, importantly, heart disease rates vary greatly among subgroups of Asian-Americans. Heart disease strikes Asian-Indians and other South Asians especially hard. In the United States, the heart disease rate is four times higher for Asian-Indians than for whites. Heart disease also tends to affect South Asians at a younger age. Genetics and lifestyle factors both play a role in heart disease risk.
You have the power to fight heart disease! Read on for some tips to keep your heart healthy.
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.